Decade After 'Stolen Moves' Admit, Kobe Showcases Rare Tactics to Irving, George

Kobe Bryant's legacy: Beyond mere imitation on court

by Zain ul Abedin
Decade After 'Stolen Moves' Admit, Kobe Showcases Rare Tactics to Irving, George
© Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport

Kobe Bryant, the late basketball prodigy, is recognized as one of the all-time greats, not necessarily for his physical prowess but for his unparalleled dedication. With a decorated career boasting 5 NBA championships and 9x All-Star selections, attributing his success merely to luck would be an unfathomable oversight. The distinctive factor about Bryant was his relentless work ethic, which often eclipsed the raw talent of some of his contemporaries.

Recently, a video from “X” recorded four years ago surfaced, showcasing Bryant, lovingly called the Black Mamba, as he delved into his lesser-known strategies with prominent NBA figures, including Kyrie Irving and Paul George.

During an enlightening session at the revered Mamba Academy, Bryant, the Laker legend, passionately conveyed the criticality of analyzing game footage. He elucidated, “Watching film isn’t just passive observation; it's an inquisitive journey. ‘What unfolds if I reposition this player?’ Such questions spawn myriad strategies, becoming game-changers in real-time. My investment in game films was profuse, ensuring my in-game decision-making was always a step ahead.”

Engrossed athletes clung to every word, realizing that these lessons were more than just theoretical discourse; they were invaluable insights from one of basketball’s maestros.

Kobe's Craft: Borrowed or Brilliant?

Kobe's unmatched skills made him a colossal challenge on the court. Often drawing double-teams, his scoring ability remained unassailable. Yet, there was a lingering critique – his penchant for "borrowing" moves from NBA stalwarts. But this was not a mere act of imitation.

Kobe, in a candid revelation to ‘ESPN News’, once remarked, “I've borrowed from the best, unapologetically.” He meticulously studied luminaries like Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Hakeem Olajuwon, weaving their legendary maneuvers into his repertoire. By doing so, he didn’t just mimic; he mastered and, invariably, magnified their impact.

In paying homage to the NBA giants that preceded him, Bryant amalgamated their genius with his artistry. He wasn’t just a replica; he was an evolution. By continually addressing his weaknesses and building on his strengths, Kobe remained a dominant force throughout his career. A diligent student and an opponent's nightmare, Bryant's legacy is a testament to dedication, evolution, and brilliance on the basketball court.

Kobe Bryant